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Defunding the right to decide

As a 20-year-old female college student, I am beginning to pay attention to some aspects of so-called “adult life” more than I ever have before; most notably regarding reproductive health. Over the course of my three years at the University of Maine, and especially within my major of political science, the topic comes up more often in my life than just scheduling an annual checkup. I have been exposed to the services this campus offers such as the Women’s Resource Center and the school’s ties with the Mabel Wadsworth Center in Bangor. After the positive experience I’ve had regarding female reproductive health so far as a young adult, it was upsetting to read the New York Times earlier this week and see the headline “Trump Administration Blocks Funds for Planned Parenthood and Others Over Abortion Referrals.”  

Living within an administration that so greatly disrespects women’s access to not only safe abortions but also accessible reproductive healthcare and education is a great stressor within the lives of many women, myself included. Having been born into a post-Roe v. Wade world and coming of age in a Democratic administration that pushed boundaries and worked incredibly hard to advocate for women’s health, it was easy to get comfortable with the idea that I would not have to worry about options for my body and reproductive health.  

The Trump administration continuously infringes on that sense of security and threatens to leave women without adequate healthcare and education. The administration also introduces the threat of unsafe abortions done by performed by those who are not professionals in the field. By cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, women will be forced to spend more time, money and resources traveling to and searching to find to travel and search for doctors’ offices which will perform abortions often at a more expensive rate compared greater cost than at to Planned Parenthood, who which offers discounted and free abortions in certain cases.

By defunding Planned Parenthood, the administration is directly impacting women from lower-income households. Those who receive funding from Title X, the only federal funding program available for family planning services, are not able to use that program to fund an abortion. By defunding Planned Parenthood, women who have Title X funding, and others, may lose access to cancer screenings, birth control or abortions. This proposal to defund the organization is not just a way to cut spending and save money, but functions as a statement made by Trump that he does not care about women, or their right to choose. Between Trump’s blatant disdain for reproductive health and his choice of Brett Kavanaugh to become a Supreme Court justice— who has spoken about his wishes to repeal Roe V. Wade— the year of 2019 is one in which women will have to fight for the right to for reproductive health, the right to choose and for women to make their voices heard.

As Women’s History Month dawns, the women of America must keep fighting to have our opinion be heard by our leaders. There is no time to be exhausted by the cards that we have constantly been dealt by the Trump administration, but rather it’s time to let our anger fuel our fight.

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